Government change widely
welcomed for a prosperous and economically stable Pakistan
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Oct 25 - 31, 1999
In a way, people in Pakistan generally welcomed the change in the
government on Oct 12,1999.
The reasons were obvious. On top of the list was ever increasing and
back-breaking price hike which severally hit the buying power of general masses. The
overall system of the government was almost caved in due to rampant corruption,
mal-administration and unabated law and order situation. The people of ruling class in the
so called democratic system were above the board and were not accountable for their deed
or misdeed. The situation was so depressed that people had started losing hope for the
future of their children as well as of the country.
Under this grave situation, people gave a welcoming hand by displaying
their silence over the change in the government by Military generals.
Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf, in his fresh manifesto gave
policy guidelines to pull the country out of persisting economic crisis.
Strengthen federation and removal of inter-provincial disharmony
through restoration of national cohesion is one of the most outstanding feature of the new
manifesto declared by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, after assuming the charge as the Chief
Executive of the country.
It is unfortunate that most of the political governments, instead of
playing the role of a binding force to forge national harmony among various segments of
the society, used the nasty tactics of divide and rule to prolong their party rule.
Various political forces, setting aside the golden principles of "Faith, Discipline
and Unity" left by Quaid-e-Azam as a political will, preferred to operate on
regional, ethnic and sectarian grounds which consequently unleashed parochial feelings and
hatred against each other hence weakened the basic ideology which had provided the basis
for creation of this country. The unabated process of degradation has reached a stage
where majority of the political parties carry an stigma of representing a particular
province instead of being a national identity of representing people as a national party.
Revival of the national spirit among the masses undoubtedly is the need
of the hour because that was the national spirit which had created Pakistan and that is
the only spirit now which can arrest the decaying socio-economic and political values in
REVIVAL OF ECONOMY
Revive economy and restore investors' confidence is yet another target
of the new manifesto.
In order to achieve this cherished goal, people at the helm of affairs
will have to identify the grey areas responsible for bringing the economy at the brink of
disaster. Some of these areas include the curse of living beyond the means. How our
ministers and other government officials with in the limited salary they are getting can
afford to live in posh bungalows, drive luxurious automobiles and send their children to
United States for education and visit abroad on pleasure trips? The answer is very simple
and that is nothing but "corruption". We have to do away with this living beyond
means fashion just by eliminating the culture of "corruption" eating our
economy. Infact these parasites of corruption are alive at the cost of our economy. The
national economy cannot flourish until and unless an effective pesticide of accountability
is used to eliminate these blood suckers. The national wealth would continue to go to
their pockets instead of going into the national exchequer. Besides corruption,
consistency of government policy is another area which should be ensured and protected to
restore the confidence of the investors both from abroad and within the country. Frequent
change in the policy has often played havoc to investment climate in the country. The
abrupt change in the financial policy of the government in 1998 when the government had
frozen the foreign currency accounts on May 28 after nuclear blast had adversely affected
the confidence of the investors. The present government on Oct 12 had pronounced emergency
in the country but a ban on bank accounts was not imposed. Since the banks were operating
normally, there was a small withdrawal of $15 million during first two three days however
people against deposited these dollars with the banks when the realized that things are
normal and there is no need of panic. Had the similarly cool and composed attitude adopted
by the government in 1998 and ban on foreign currency accounts had not been imposed the
situation would have been entirely different.
Another example in the shift of government policy is the on going
tussle with the IPPs. The noise of the controversy was heard with in the country as well
as abroad as the Hub Power has already called on International Chamber for justice. Such
ugly noises always scare the investors as the money always avoids risks and seeks safer
places. Long term and consistent policies through good governance should be the slogan of
the new manifesto to restore the confidence of the investors.
The Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf has declared that strict
measures would be taken against loan defaulters, tax evaders and all others responsible
for the present economic crisis.
The State Bank of Pakistan, according to official reports has briefed
to the new government about all domestic and international issues.
The military authorities have directed the Central Board of Revenue
(CBR) to undertake fresh tax assessment of the big and influential tax evaders,
particularly belonging to textiles, sugar and cement industries.
The CBR authorities have been advised to re-examine cases of large tax
evasions. During this exercise the specialists in accounts and corporate law would be
deployed to re-assess the tax evasion cases.
The drive against tax evaders is going to take momentum in the days
ahead and the recovery of a huge defaulted amount running in billions of rupees is likely
to be recovered.
The economic agenda, announced by the Gen.Pervez Musharraf, emphasizes
upon revival of the national economy.
Among the revolutionary steps declared include ruthless accountability,
allowing no room for bank defaulters and tax evaders. The process of accountability will
be directed towards plunderers of government money, tax evaders and bank defaulters. Even
the write-offs would have to be coughed up.
The defaulters have been advised to voluntarily return the bank loans
within a month upto November 16, after that deadline they would be dealt according to the
The programme includes: to restore confidence of investors at home and
abroad, increase domestic savings, boost agriculture, turn state enterprises profit making
and adopt strict austerity measures.
the aims and objectives before the new government are to rebuilt
national confidence, stem disharmony, restore law and order, devolving of powers and
carrying out of swift accountability. He added that good government was a pre-requisite
for all these objectives.
Gen. Musharraf feels that the country stood at the cross-roads of
destiny which we can make or break. In the darkening environment, there was a beacon of
hope as the economy was crumbling fast, credibility was lost, state institutions were
demolished and provincial disharmony was rife endeavouring the federation.
the country was not poor but endowed with great richness in the form of
fertile lands, water resources and untapped minerals and a dynamic and industrious people.
The General has also observed that the revival of economy was critical.
The economy was in deep trouble and revolutionary steps were needed to put it back on
track. the people had been subjected to betrayal of their trust. Their hard earned money
was frozen or taxed in violation of state commitment. We need to restore this trust.
To revitalize the economy, in addition to measures like recovery of the
looted national wealth, a task that will be ruthlessly pursued.
* Rebuilding of investors' confidence through stability and consistency
in economic policies and economic security
The objective is to encourage the local investors, overseas Pakistanis
and foreign investors
*Increase domestic savings
* Carry out pragmatic tax reforms
*Turn around the state enterprises towards profitability
*Boost agriculture and revive industry
* Strict austerity measures
LAW AND ORDER
Ensure law and order and dispense speedy justice is also
inter-connected with the new manifesto of the government for revival of socio- economic
life of the country. The persistent law and order situation for over a decade which
claimed thousands of lives in Karachi alone has shattered the confidence of the people in
the government, administration as well as the judiciary. This is a dangerous indication
because when the citizens lose respect for the entire system they also lose their hearts
and love for their country. This area again need immediate and sincere attention of the
people at the helm of affairs. Due to persistent law and order situation the wheel of
industry do not move for most of the days in the year, economic activity come to a stand
still, educational institutional present a deserted looked as the parents avoid to take
risk of life of their children to schools or colleges where no security of life is
ensured. The disturbed and volatile conditions created a bad impression about the country
specially the foreign investors who prefer to move such countries where life or property
is not at risk due to law and order. It is the most tragic and torturous point of the
situation that only goonda elements are not responsible for creating law and order
situation, some political forces, religious factions, government agencies and officials
were also contributors in the gory drama of law and order for trifling with life and
honour of the innocent citizens.
Across the board accountability is the most appealing part of the new
Why people have welcomed the new system of rule led by General Pervez
Musharraf? Mainly because they were being deprived of their bread due to unprecedented
back breaking price hike. Contrary to their promises, the civilian rulers had failed to
control inflationary pressures. Instead they were pressurized by the international donor
agencies like IMF etc and increased prices of essential commodities on the dictates of
IMF. Frankly speaking people was accountability of the ruling class and their powerful and
influential touts who led the economy at the brink of collage due to their unchecked
plundering of the national resources. One can only hope that the new set-up would rise to